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France reign supreme in Rugby Europe Championship 7s

France Men's 7s celebrate their victory in Hamburg.

France has claimed the 2024 women’s and men’s Rugby Europe Championship 7s Series, as the competition wrapped up in Hamburg, with a mix of drama and the need for a calculator to find the victor over the men’s division.

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The competition kicked off in the first weekend of June, with the Croatian city of Makarska welcoming twenty-four participants to the fray. In the men’s side, France would go on undefeated to conquer the leg, narrowly defeating Ireland in the final. In the women’s, Poland again showed why they are one of the rising new star teams in the Sevens world, defeating France in a close final (12-10) and finishing in 1st place.

Two weeks later, teams headed for Hamburg to play the 2nd leg of the competition, with all still to be decided. As happened in Croatia, Ireland and France beat every other team to reach the men’s final, with the Irish powered up by World Series superstars Mark Roche, Jordan Conroy and Hugo Keenan. Although Ireland won against France in that last game thanks to a penalty try scored in the dying minutes, Les Bleus were the series victors due to a better point average.

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Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus explains the process of becoming a Bok

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Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus explains the process of becoming a Bok

It was an impressive display of class and depth from France, as most of their athletes are yet to make their debut in the World Series.

As for the women’s division, France would reach the final already as series champions, as Poland were unable to qualify for the semi-finals. With Yolaine Yengo and Anne-Cécile Ciofani on fire, Les Bleues survived an energic and dynamic Great Britain and closed out the cup final with a 19-5 score.

Sevens
France Women’s 7 celebrate in Hamburg.

Concerning the World Rugby Challenger Series, the teams qualified are unchanged; as Portugal, Germany and Georgia, in the men’s; and Poland, Belgium and Czech Republic, in the women’s; will be back to play for a promotion to the World Series.

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Gaspard Lalli and Grace Crompton were the men’s and women’s series try-scorers of the season, with 15 tries each. Portugal’s Vareiro topped the men’s top scorer with 88 points; and the women’s was Spain’s Ingrid Algar with 101.

As for the relegation battle; Ukraine and Croatia, in the men’s; and Ukraine and Turkey, in the women’s; will have to go back to the Rugby Europe Trophy Series in 2025.

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finn 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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